Sen. Tim Kaine Thinks You’re A Racist

This email sent out by Sen. Tim Kaine is an insult to every Virginian. The long and short of it is, he thinks you’re a racist.

The Voting Rights Act was instituted in 1965 to ensure the end of literacy tests, grandfather clauses, poll taxes, and other methods that were used to systematically disenfranchise African-Americans in the South.

Now that law is under attack. The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments challenging the law, and some are erroneously claiming that critical parts of this landmark legislation are outdated and unnecessary. Justice Antonin Scalia even remarked that the Voting Rights Act amounts to “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

As a long-time civil rights lawyer, I know that the right to vote is sacred, and we have a lot more work to do to protect it. In fact, this case comes to the Court at the very same time that we’ve seen the most aggressive push in decades to limit the franchise – voter ID laws, egregious lines at polling places, and limits on early voting that make it more difficult for people to exercise their Constitutional right.

Will you join me and voice your support for the Voting Rights Act by adding your name?
This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. In fact, Republican President George W. Bush worked side by side with Democrats to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2006.

People gave their lives to secure the right to vote in this country. And every American – regardless of race, religion or creed – has a right to exercise this core component of our democracy.

Please join me and stand in support of the Voting Rights Act.

Thanks for your help,

Tim Kaine

Paid for by Kaine For Virginia

As a long-time election lawyer, I agree with him that lines were too long on Election Day in many places, but that had nothing to do with the Voting Rights Act. That was a matter of technology, resources, scheduling, planning, an excited electorate, and human imperfection. This all happened even with the VRA in place. Better (and more) voting machines, better (and more) trained poll workers, and better logistics is the way to solve the problem of long lines. Sen. Kaine’s meaningless petition will not address this and is nothing more than blatant political theater that has as its sole purpose growing his list of email addresses to which he can send political material.

I do disagree with him about the notion of early voting and voter ID, though. Early voting basically abolishes “Election Day” and creates “Election Month.” Under his preferred scheme, voters would be voting without having been exposed to the full debate of issues and vetting of candidates. That allows for unscrupulous campaigns (on either side) to dupe voters into voting for their guy early in order to bank enough votes so that even if their candidate implodes, he can still win. That does a real disservice to the voters and democracy.

I have no problem with people casting an absentee ballot if they will be away from home or else cannot make it to the polls during the hours they are open. (On that note, let’s keep the polls open until 8 or 9 p.m. and maybe open them at 5 a.m. That alone will at least help to alleviate the problem.)

On the issue of voter ID, if we need an ID to buy alcohol or cigarettes, go to the movies, get a job, cash a check, open a bank account, rent an apartment, receive public benefits, etc., then why is it such a big deal to show an ID in order to vote? Most people already have some form of government-issued photo ID and the voter ID laws in place or that have been proposed actually make accomodation for those who do not posses one because they are financially unable to acquire one.

I served as an international elections observer in Mexico overseeing their 1997 federal elections.  I was assigned to the State of Yucatán and visited polling places throughout the day from the modern capital city of Merida to the poorest of villages near the Mayan ruins.  (Cancun is in another state, so there was no beachtime, only work.)  That was the first time in over 70 years that their nation’s ruling party lost their majority in the Mexican legislature.  Ever.

Every single voter not only had an ID (which was state of the art even by today’s post-9/11 standards incorporating not only photographs, but magnetic strips, holograms, and over a dozen more security measures), but each of them was PROUD to posses it because it said to them that they counted, that they had the right to vote.  If they could do this in Mexico 15 years ago with a much poorer population, there is no reason why we cannot make sure that everyone who is eligible to vote in the U.S. has some form of ID.

There are only two real reasons why people oppose voter ID — first, so people like Kaine have an issue to demagogue and second, so people can commit vote fraud. Just a week and a half ago, an Ohio woman — a poll worker of all people — was indicted on charges of vote fraud. She voted SIX TIMES in the 2012 election and is also charged with vote fraud for similar acts in 2011 and 2008.  In the city of my birth, Troy, NY (home to Sam Wilson a.k.a. THE “Uncle Sam”), several people have gone to jail for a wide-ranging vote fraud scheme.

The Ohio woman said, “Yes, I voted twice” and claimed she was worried her vote would not count.  Even if I believed her, which I don’t given that she was a poll worker, it really says something to me that mid-1990s Mexicans had more confidence in their electoral system than today’s Americans do.

SURPRISE! Economy SHRANK In 4Q

As voters went to the polls in November to reelect President Obama, many of them buying into his campaign rhetoric that we had finally turned the corner and things were improving, the economy was actually contracting by 0.1 percent.  That is the first quarter that the economy shrank since the Great Recession technically ended.  To put this in perspective, if the quarter we are currently in also shows a drop, then that technically puts us back in a recession.

Good job, people…

“Outsider”?

VA LG candidate Pete Snyder sent out an email yesterday announcing his campaign is now up on the air.

And today, we continue to bring our Big Ideas campaign straight to Virginia Republicans with the first ad of the 2013 campaign: “Outsider” – which will run on conservative talk radio across the Commonwealth, highlighting my record as an innovator and proven job creator, as well as my near 20-year service in the conservative movement. Click here to give it a listen.

Snyder can legitimately claim to be an innovator and job creator, but to claim to be an “outsider” is simply disingenuous.  His campaign is loaded with former staffers for Gov. Bob McDonnell, LG Bill Bolling and the Republican Governors Association that McDonnell led.  Not to mention he accepted appointment as the head of Virginia Victory 2012 (and let’s not forget what a bang-up job he did in that capacity for Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and George Allen) as a stepping stone to run for LG by increasing his name ID with activists around the state.  Notice how quickly he dropped that title from his political resume after Election Day.

I suppose if Snyder is trying to say he is an outsider, maybe that is on account of the bulk of his financial support coming from outside Virginia.

Among the slew of errors Republicans and conservatives made in the last election cycle, I made one of my own…

… and unfortunately, it was a big one.

As most readers of yours truly know, I have neverever – supported TARP (a.k.a., the bank bailout), and I have gleefully cheered TARP opponents going down in Republican primaries. There are reasons for this beyond schadenfreude. For starters, because I still believe TARP was a bad idea that did more damage to our economy than is generally known, to say nothing about the damage to democratic accountability. Secondly, if the Republican Party is to be seen as the party of limited government, it cannot nominate supporters of that corporatist boondoggle. To do so makes the GOP look hypocritical – at best – and feeds right into the left’s assertion that the right cares about nothing but big business and Big Money.

So I have fervently insisted TARP backers will get no quarter from me…except when it came to Election 2012. I departed from the script, and endorsed Mitt Romney (a TARP backer) when there were still three TARP opponents in the race (Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul).

My explanation for this comes down to four words: I made a mistake.

Looking back, my reasons for switching gears and supporting Romney are laughable. His performance as a candidate began to deteriorate nearly from the moment I praised it. His well-thought out views on the Chinese Communist Party dissolved into soundbites once the nomination was secure (oh and as an aside, “borrowing money from China” is not an automatic anti-Communist marker; the CCP is buying up our debt due to its own export-driven policies, and has nothing to do with our need to borrow).

Finally, although I steered clear of the “electability” argument, those who didn’t should look back and recognize why I did. Can anyone really say Rick Santorum would have been raked over the coals more than Romney over social issues? I doubt it – but Santorum would have been better prepared to defend himself. Anyone’s concerns over Gingrich’s character flaws melted under the heat from the Romney straw-man the Democrats set aflame. Dr. Paul was quite possibly the only one in the field who improved as a candidate and politician as the campaign crawled forward.

In the meantime, though, the aforementioned Romney straw-man was greatly aided by Romney’s support for TARP – and when he found a running mate well-respected on the right who also backed the bailout (Paul Ryan), the ticket’s fate was sealed. A nominee who talks about limited government without criticizing that $700 billion boondoggle simply can’t deliver the message effectively – in part because voters (especially low information voters) can’t believe them (keep in mind that 53% of voters in 2012 preferred government be smaller. Over one in ten rejected Romney-Ryan).

All sorts of Republicans and conservatives made a slew of mistakes in this election cycle. They need to own them, but I need to own my mistake, too: I backed Romney for the nomination – and I shouldn’t have. I’m not sure who would have been the right choice as our nominee – but I have to acknowledge Mitt Romney was the wrong choice.

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal

Kaine Not Even Sworn In Yet And Already Starting A Leadership PAC

How’s this for you? Sen.-elect Tim Kaine isn’t even in office yet and he’s already launching a Leadership PAC. Thought he’d be different? Wrong. And what’s with this “Common Ground” name anyway? This guy was the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and one of the most partisan Virginians to run for office in a long time. I doubt he even knows what common ground truly is.

Common Ground PAC

Senator-elect Tim Kaine invites you to a reception on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 5:00 PM at Bistro Bis, 15 E Street Northwest, to kick-off Common Ground PAC!

If you have any questions or to R.S.V.P., please contact Mary Tabaie at 202.682.2202 or via email, mtabaie@cfc-dc.com.

 Contact Us  | Facebook | Twitter

Paid for by Democratic Party of Virginia

Contributions or gifts to Common Ground PAC or the Democratic Party of Virginia are not tax deductible.

Lindsey Graham and Peter King . . . don’t get it either

This is a sequel (of sorts) to my earlier post explaining how Tom Coburn and Jeb Bush (two prominent Republicans who called for tax increases as part of a deficit reduction package) were getting the economics completely wrong. As it turns out, Lindsey Graham (Corner) and Peter King are nearly as clueless.

Graham spoke up first, so I’ll lead off with him. He insisted that raising taxes would be “for the good of the economy.” Nothing could be further from the truth.None other than Christina Romer (along with her husband David) revealed that tax increases have a multiplier effect somewhere between 2 and 3 – in English, a tax increase of X will lead to the economy contracting by anywhere between 2X and 3X. Spending (and spending cuts), by contrast, have multipliers below 1. The evidence clearly shows that reducing spending is better for the economy than raising taxes.

Graham digs deeper with an off-hand reference to the current status of revenues (presumably as a percentage of GDP): “we’re below historical averages.” There’s only one problem with that: the revenue/GDP ratio is not determined by rates; if anything, it’s determined by economic performance. Lest we forget, we were in tune with historical averages with the same rates and deductions in 2007.

Graham’s last mistake is his assertion that avoiding tax increases means America would “end up like Greece.” In fact, Greece has relied on tax increases as part of their Fauxsterity, and it’s failed miserably. If anything, Graham is ensuring we “end up like Greece” by relying on tax increases – which have failed to raise the revenues expected of them (1982, 1984, 1987, 1990, and 1993).

Of course, Graham was first elected to Congress in 1994, so he missed all of that.

Peter King (New York) has no such excuse; having first been elected in 1992, he saw the last version of the error first-hand. In his case, though, King goes for the political argument, insisting that accepting tax increases is the “adult” thing to do (Corner). Tax-hike opponents hear this repeatedly; laregly because it is an attempt to ignore the economics and cut-off debate. However, shouting “act like adults” and “the election’s over” doesn’t change the economic reality. It just means (in the case of Election 2012) that there are fewer of us willing to acknowledge the economic reality.

Again, none of this surprises me. I expect the Republicans to cave, and taxes to go up. I do not expect our long-term budget problems to be fixed by it.

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal

Stewart To GOP: Don’t Change Our Principles

PWC Chairman Corey Stewart, candidate for LG in 2013, has penned an op-ed in Potomac Local about what the GOP needs to do in order to regain its footing.  Key is the following.

Before Republicans consider major changes to our platform, let’s first get back to basics. Voters expect to be asked for their vote. And flashy TV ads and glossy flyers don’t make up for the lack of a personal touch. If we intend to ask people for their votes we need to go where they are, tell them what we believe, and listen to their concerns. The GOP must respect minority communities and not blow them off by never visiting their neighborhoods. When candidates do that, voters feel ignored and disrespected. For me, showing people a long-term commitment starts by going where they live, shaking their hand, looking them in the eye, and telling them how the principles I stand for will produce benefits that flow through their neighborhoods, regardless of their skin color.

I’ve done that, and you know what I’ve often found? Agreement. Time and time again I’ve met minority voters who agree with me, even on issues like gay marriage, abortion, and the enforcement of immigration laws. By suddenly changing our positions on these issues we could actually be walking away from common ground we share with large numbers of minority voters. I’ve also found, from my conversations, that even when we don’t agree, there are countless minority voters who have supported me over a Democratic candidate, because they know that I will represent them, that I will listen to them, and that I’m genuinely interested in the issues that concern them.

He’s right.  As he noted:

In the last six years I’ve won three countywide elections in Prince William County, including winning 72 of the County’s 77 precincts just one year ago. During that same time John McCain and Mitt Romney were losing the county, badly.

Gerry Connolly Proposes Election Reforms

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly has proposed a bill to address the issue of people waiting hours in line to vote on Election Day.

This bill authorizes a federal program to award grants based on how well states can improve access to the polls in at least nine specific ways, including:

Providing flexible registration opportunities, including same-day registration;

Providing early voting, at a minimum of 9 of the 10 calendar days preceding an election;

Providing absentee voting, including no-excuse absentee voting;

Providing assistance to voters who do not speak English as a primary language;

Providing assistance to voters with disabilities, including visual impairment;

Providing effective access to voting for members of the armed services;

Providing formal training of election officials, including State and county officials and volunteers;

Auditing and reducing waiting times at polling stations; and

Creating contingency plans for voting in the event of a natural or other disaster.

Let’s go through these items one by one.

1.  Providing flexible registration opportunities, including same-day registration;

BAD IDEA – If you couldn’t be bothered to register to vote before Election Day, then you’re not taking your civic responsibility seriously.  We’ve got “motor voter,” voter registration forms available at post offices, libraries and other public buildings.  You can download voter registration forms from the Internet.  There is no reasonable excuse that someone could not register before actually showing up at the polls to vote.  If you think the lines were bad this time, how bad would they be if you have a bunch of people who had to first REGISTER on site and be verified as eligible?  Not to mention the huge opportunity this would create for wholesale voter fraud (unless he agrees to voters having to dip their fingers in indelible purple ink like they did in Iraq so no one can vote twice — I’d love to hear the arguments against that.)

2.  Providing early voting, at a minimum of 9 of the 10 calendar days preceding an election;

BAD IDEA – It is called Election DAY, not Election WEEK or Election MONTH.  I don’t have a problem with people casting an absetee ballot (or even an in-person absentee ballot), but this move towards early voting is just plain silly as those casting such votes are doing so without the benefit of witnessing the entire election campaign unfold.  People around the world wait for hours to cast their ballots out of a sense of pride on their countries’ election days.  It used to be viewed in the U.S. that waiting to vote ON ELECTION DAY was one of the few communal events that we shared with our friends and neighbors.  We’re losing that.

3.  Providing absentee voting, including no-excuse absentee voting;

GOOD IDEA – As I stated above, I have no problem with this.  Every eligible voter should be able to cast a ballot for the candidates of their choice.

4.  Providing assistance to voters who do not speak English as a primary language;

BAD IDEA – What languages would states and counties be required to provide assistance with?  It may surprise Mr. Connolly that in many Prince William County Schools students who are in the ESOL program are not Spanish speakers, but many are Arabic or from African nations.  Once you do it for one group, you’d have to do it for all of them and there are currently just over 6,000 spoken languages in the world today.  If people are in America and voting (meaning they must be citizens), then they should at least understand enough English to be able to cast a ballot.  If they need help, they should ask a family member or friend to review with them a sample ballot before they head to the polls.

5.  Providing assistance to voters with disabilities, including visual impairment;

GOOD IDEA – Once again, every eligible voter should be able to cast a ballot for the candidates of their choice — so long as the votes are actually cast for the candidates of that voter’s choice.

6.  Providing effective access to voting for members of the armed services;

GOOD IDEA – For those men and women fighting to protect our liberties, we should do everything we can to ensure that they can exercise this most cherished liberty themselves.  Reports that many service members did not receive the absentee ballots that they requested for the 2012 presidential election is very troubling.

7.  Providing formal training of election officials, including State and county officials and volunteers;

GOOD IDEA – No matter where a voter casts his or her ballot in a state, it should be roughly the same experience.  There should be consistency in the process that will give voters confidence in the results.

8.  Auditing and reducing waiting times at polling stations;

GOOD IDEA – If we can reduce wait-times in supermarket check-out lines by auditing how many people are waiting and adjusting accordingly, there is no reason why we can’t apply such private sector lessons to speeding up things on Election Day for voters at the polls.

9.  Creating contingency plans for voting in the event of a natural or other disaster.

GOOD IDEA – Hurricane Sandy showed us that this is a necessity.  Just as contingency plans must be put in place for other activities, there should be ones in place for voting as well.  I do not believe that should include moving the date of an election unless it is a cataclysm of epic proportions and even then that should only be done for elections at the state or local level.  At the presidential level, the Electoral College is the bulwark against emergencies and other national disasters disproportionately impacting the outcome.

So, there you have it.  In principle, Connolly’s bill has 6 areas where conservatives and liberals should be able to agree.  Not a bad place to start from.

Paula Broadwell and husband Scott return home to Charlotte

For the first time since the story of the General Petraeus’ affair was made public, Paula Broadwell and her physician husband, Scott, have returned to their home in an upscale Charlotte, NC neighborhood.  Paula wore sunglasses and carried one of her two young sons.  She was also wearing her wedding band ( whatever that means).  She did not speak with any of the press camped outside her home.  The family had been staying at her brother’s home in Washington, DC.  More here, here and here.

General Petraeus Writing a Book?

So it would seem.  Petraeus has hired an elite, Washington lawyer, Robert Barnett, known for helping Washington pols negotiate big book deals.  He previously represented President Obama and Sarah Palin.  Now that Petraeus’s  mistress’s  book is in print, I guess he wants to get  his version of his life into print and make a buck or two now that he’s unemployed.

General Petraeus testifies that CIA Benghazi memo was later altered. Benghazi Story Changed!

UPDATE:  According to Senator Saxby Chambliss, Susan Rice knew she was lying to the American people about who was responsible for the Benghazi attacks.  “Chambliss said Rice “went beyond” the talking points. “She even mentioned that under the leadership of Barack Obama we had decimated al Qaeda. Well, she knew at that time that al Qaeda was very likely responsible in part or in whole for the death of Ambassador Stevens,” he said.”   So who told her to lie?  Who changed the CIA memo sent by Petraeus’ office?  Story here.   Charles Krauthammer was right.  Petraeus went along with the administration’s story in an effort to save his job and reputation.  After the election, and after the administration had disposed of him, he’s now telling the truth about Benghazi.

In private hearings today before House and Senate Intelligence Committees, General David Petraeus testified that the CIA knew almost immediately that the attacks on our embassy in Benghazi were the results of a terrorism.   The CIA memo was later stripped of any reference to “Al Quada involvement”.   It has not been determined who changed the CIA talking points and who was responsible for sending UN Ambassador Susan Rice to the Sunday news programs to tell a different story than the one Petraeus claims to have presented previously to Congress, that the attack on 9/11 was a pre-planned result of Al Quada terrorism and not a spontaneous uprising because of a film trailer.

More here and here.

Boyd’s Blame Game

WMAL reported this morning that GOP consultant Boyd Marcus was blaming Mitt Romney, the RNC, RPV, conservatives in the VA General Assembly and everyone else but himself for George Allen’s loss in the Senate race last week.

Let’s burst Boyd’s bubble, shall we?  From the State Board of Elections –

President (Virginia):
Romney – 1,822,466 – 47.28%
Obama – 1,971,777 – 51.16%

Senate:
Allen – 1,785,487 – 46.96%
Kaine – 2,010,023 – 52.87%

So, if Romney dragged Allen down, how did Romney get 36,979 / 0.32% more votes than Allen did?  In fact, Kaine outperformed Obama both in the raw vote total and in percentage: 38,246 / 1.71%.  When you compare the total number of Democrat and Republican votes cast in each race, there were actually 1,267 MORE votes in the Senate race than there were for president.  The answer here is simple — Marcus ran an outdated campaign that did a disservice to George Allen and now he is seeking to escape the blame.

Yesterday I wrote about the ill-timed mailer sent out on behalf of Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s 2013 gubernatorial campaign.  Guess who Bolling’s top strategist is . . . Boyd Marcus.

Things you should know about Holly Petraeus

Holly Petraeus is a very interesting woman who, along with her children Anne and Steven, have sacrificed throughout their lives to support the General’s military career.  A very interesting article is here, reporting 10 things we should know about Holly Peteraeus.  I love this picture of young Holly and David when they were dating at West Point.

Did General Petraeus lie to Congress and will he lie again on Friday?

Three days after the attack on our embassy in Benghazi on 9/11, that resulted in the death of four Americans, General David Petraeus told the House Intelligence Committee that it had been a spontaneous uprising that began over a protest of film trailer for “The Innocences of Muslims”.  Details here.   We now know that was not true.  We also know that the state department watched the attack in real time and they knew that it had nothing to do with a film.   The time line for the attack is here.   For two weeks the President continued to say that the attack was about the film, and not an Al Quada terrorist attack.  This fit his election narrative that his administration had Al Quada on the run.   He repeated it frequently.   We didn’t need more forces anywhere, the administration had everything under control.   From the timeline, we know that isn’t true.   The President also knew it wasn’t true.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew  it wasn’t true.   Yesterday at his press conference the President said that Susan Rice went on 5 Sunday News programs after  the 9/11 attack and repeated the story about the film causing a spontaneous uprising because that’s what she was told to say by the White House and the Intelligence community.   The followup question should have been, “who told her to say that”?   Who thought up this silly idea and told Susan Rice to promote it?

Another question remains, why did General Petraeus go along with this lie and and why did he lie to Congress?   He had to know the truth, the FBI knew the truth, the state department knew the truth, the department of Defense knew the truth  and had told the truth in their testimony the previous day.  It’s impossible to believe that the CIA didn’t know.    Charles Krauthammer has proposed that the reason why Petraeus lied, because he still hoped to save his job after the FBI had discovered his affair and informed the White House.   Krauthammer said the following in an interview earlier this week:

“I think the really shocking news today was that General Petraeus thought and hoped he could keep his job. He thought that it might and it would be kept secret, and that he could stay in his position. I think what that tells us is really important. It meant that he understood that the FBI obviously knew what was going on. He was hoping that those administration officials would not disclose what had happened, and therefore hoping that he would keep his job. And that meant that he understood that his job, his reputation, his legacy, his whole celebrated life was in the hands of the administration, and he expected they would protect him by keeping it quiet.

And that brings us to the ultimate issue, and that is his testimony on September 13. That’s the thing that connects the two scandals, and that’s the only thing that makes the sex scandal relevant. Otherwise it would be an exercise in sensationalism and voyeurism and nothing else. The reason it’s important is here’s a man who knows the administration holds his fate in its hands, and he gives testimony completely at variance with what the Secretary of Defense had said the day before, at variance with what he’d heard from his station chief in Tripoli, and with everything that we had heard. Was he influenced by the fact that he knew his fate was held by people within the administration at that time?

Of course it was being held over Petraeus’s head, and the sword was lowered on Election Day. You don’t have to be a cynic to see that as the ultimate in cynicism. As long as they needed him to give the administration line to quote Bill, everybody was silent. And as soon as the election’s over, as soon as he can be dispensed with, the sword drops and he’s destroyed. I mean, can you imagine what it’s like to be on that pressure and to think it didn’t distort or at least in some way unconsciously influence his testimony? That’s hard to believe.”   The video is here.

Did Petraeus lie to save his own skin?  Will he do it again on Friday when he testifies in a closed session on Capitol Hill?  Will he remain loyal to the President when he testifies now that he has nothing to lose?   Why would he remain loyal when the White House has not been loyal to him?   Will he refute his own prior testimony?  Seems unlikely but it also seems unlikely that he will continue to lie.  Of course everything about this scandal has been one unlikely thing after another.  So who knows what will happen during the Petraeus testimony on Friday?

Bill Whittle outlines the way forward for conservatives

An excellent and practical video. It’s well worth the hour you’ll spend watching it, and for those of us who have been extremely discouraged by the results of the election, Bill give a gracious-but-firm kick in the butt!

The Real Housewives of West Point or Generals who are lead by their privates

Today we  learned that  Leon Panetta has asked the Pentagon’s Inspector General to look into the 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails sent by Marine General John Allen to the woman with the severely tilted head, General Petraues ‘friend’, Jill Kelley.   The FBI had contacted the Pentagon about the investigation on Sunday. More details here.  General Allen succeeded General Petraeus as the top Allied Commander in Afganistan.  He was also Petraeus’ top aide when both were stationed in Tampa, where Jill Kelley lives with her oncologist husband and who now appears to have many close male friends who send her thousands of emails.

Since this story grows more complicated by the minute, Investors.com has provided us with a handy cast of characters for the latest episodes:

>>>David Petraeus, the 60-year-old heretofore hero general of the Iraq and Afghan wars, who was named last year to direct the Central Intelligence Agency. (He graduated in the top 5% of his 1974 class at West Point. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Petraeus )

Holly Petraeus, his wife of four decades whose longtime mission was helping military families separated by deployments.  ( Mrs. Petraeus is said to be ”beyond furious“.  Ya think?  Her father,  William Knowlton, was the head honcho of West Point when she met David Petraeus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_A._Knowlton )

Paula Broadwell, an ambitious woman with a husband and two children who’d never written a book but convinced Petraeus she could do the job, if she could hang around with him in a war zone for much of a year researching her book titled, “All In.”  ( I won’t even comment on the title.   Broadwell graduated from West Point in 1995.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paula_Broadwell)

Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old wealthy, married socialite in Tampa who made herself useful as an unpaid social coordinator for the military brass there of Central Command, which Petraeus headed before Obama demoted him to return to Afghanistan as NATO commander.  (No known ties to West Point other than perhaps West Point groupie.)

Marine Gen. John Allen, who was also assigned to Central Command and succeeded Petraeus 16 months ago as commander in Afghanistan. He has since been named top commander of NATO in Europe, but that ticket will likely now be canceled.  (Allen is a 1976 of the Naval Academy.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_John_Allen )

The mess began to unravel in May when Kelley naively told the FBI she had received email threats from someone. The FBI traced these communications back to the laptop of Broadwell, who apparently thought the married Kelley was moving in on the married Petraeus to compete with the married Broadwell. <<<

Got it?  I will try to keep readers informed when new cast members are added to the ever growing scandal.

Election 2012 – VA GOP Winners And Losers

There’s been much gnashing of teeth and second-guessing among Republicans since Tuesday night’s election results both here and elsewhere.  To delve a bit deeper into this, I think it is instructive to look at the winners and losers among Republicans to see what lessons can be learned.

Winners:

The 2013 GOP Gubernatorial Nominee — Whether it is Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling or Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Republicans are well-positioned to keep the top executive spot in Virginia next year.  For whatever reason, Virginians are contrarians and for decades have rewarded the party opposite that of the one in the White House with the governorship of the Commonwealth.  For all the vaunted talk of Virginia becoming a blue state after 2008, Bob McDonnell crushed Creigh Deeds just a year later.  While President Obama proved that he still can turn out the vote for himself, he has been unable to transfer his GOTV machine to other candidates when he is not appearing on the ballot — which will be never again.  In 2012, Obama’s vote total in Virginia was down 66,000 while Mitt Romney’s vote total was up 57,000 over John McCain’s 2008 total.  If anything, one could argue that Virginia has become less Democratic and more Republican in the last four years despite this year’s statewide losses.

House Republicans — All 8 GOP members of the Virginia congressional delegation were handily reelected.  This was the one bright spot both in Virginia and nationally on Tuesday night.

Artur Davis — The former Democrat Member of Congress from Alabama who has been a Virginia resident for a few years now has made an excellent impression in the Commonwealth.  From giving the seconding speech nominating Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention to being a featured speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention and a top Romney / Ryan campaign surrogate in Virginia, Davis worked his heart out.  If he chooses to run for Congress in the 11th Dist. where he lives against Gerry Connolly, he stands an excellent chance in 2014.  Connolly just barely cracked 60% and garnered over 168,000 votes in 2012 with the Obama tailwind aiding him and he had the good fortune of running against a Republican who thought he could run an almost entirely grassroots campaign that didn’t require him to raise a lot of money.  Four years before in the old 11th district before it was gerrymandered, Connolly only got 55%, but won over 196,000 votes that year.  Keep this in mind, in 2012 Chris Perkins won 100,000 against Connolly in the new district while Connolly only won 111,000 in the old district in 2010.  If Connolly were to see a similar drop of 85,000 votes / 43 percent decline  from presidential year to mid-term next go round, he’d have lost anywhere from 4 in 10 to more than half of all his votes.

Losers:

Retread Candidates — This was the case in Virginia and nationally where you had solid candidates like George Allen and Tommy Thompson go down to defeat.  Although both were outspent by their liberal foes, each had solid records and name ID that should have enabled them to overcome the negative onslaughts they had to endure.  Neither did.  The top of the ticket losing each of their states didn’t help them, but it was clear that voters were either too removed from their prior service or were simply looking for fresh faces.  (Artur Davis would be an exception as he is a fresh face in Virginia.)

Pete Snyder — Virginia Victory was a dud, plain and simple.  Despite Republicans increasing their vote total by 57,000 between 2008 and 2012, that is a feat that our old friend Ham Sandwich could have accomplished.  It was clear from the start that Snyder was using Virginia Victory as the launching pad for his own race for Lt. Governor.  People were openly talking about him running from the moment he was appointed.  Maybe if he had spent more time concentrating on actually winning 2012 instead of raising his own profile for 2013 he could have increased turnout more than an inanimate deli product could have.

Prince William County Republicans — In PWC, Romney outperformed McCain by 7,000 votes, but Obama actually outperformed his 2008 total by 10,000 votes.  In neighboring Loudoun County, Obama bested his 2008 total by approximately 7,000 votes, but Romney received 10,000 votes more than McCain did.  Even though Obama still won Loudoun, it was by a much narrower margin than it was in 2008.  As some have pointed out to me (and this goes beyond just PWC and to the larger problem with RPV / Virginia Victory), locally elected Republican officials who have the closest relationships with their constituents and thus the credibility to make the case to them as to why the Romney / Ryan ticket and George Allen were the best choices from the local perspective were AWOL for the most part.  It doesn’t help that the current Board of County Supervisors has gone on a spree over several years of approving numerous multi-family housing units which tend to harbor Democratic voters.

Bill Bolling — Bolling was an early supporter of both Mitt Romney and George Allen while his 2013 gubernatorial foe Cuccinelli sat out both races until nominees were declared.  Many convention goers will question Bolling’s judgment on what a winning candidate looks like and thus his own ability to win in 2013.  Don’t forget, in 2009 Cuccinelli received 18,000 MORE votes than Bolling did in the General Election and that race was down ballot from his.  If Bolling is the nominee, I still believe that he will win as I stated above, but I believe that 2012 will be an anchor on his campaign against Cuccinelli for the nomination.

Am I wrong or am I right?  Let’s hear your thoughts on who the Virginia GOP winners and losers were.

Why Republicans Never Saw it Coming

Why did so many of us believe that the republicans would win the election, even win it big?   We ignored the analysis of  election predictor Nate Sliver  and the Real Clear Politics polls.     Believing that we would win made the loss even more painful.  How did we get to that point?  I can only speak to what I saw happening in Virginia but I suspect that Virginia mirrored what happened across the country.

First, we saw how energized republicans were.  We knew in Virginia we had many more volunteers on the ground than during any previous election.   We logged in hundreds of  thousands more phone calls, and door knocks than in 2008.  So many people wanted to turn our nation around, away from ever increasing debt, sky high unemployment, with more and more people on food stamps and the ever swelling rolls of people on the government dole because they have no other choice.  We wanted to see our government protect our embassies overseas and not make up absurd lies to cover incompetence and lack of protection.  We saw and felt the energy on the ground, in our neighborhoods, at our meetings, in our Victory Offices.  We called voters who were so excited about taking our country back.  We KNEW that we were turning out the vote for our republican candidates.  We  KNEW it.  What we didn’t know, the democrats were doing the same thing.  They were turning out their base, and more, in numbers that rivaled 2008.  We never saw it coming.

We didn’t see soon enough that the democrats were using their age old scare tactics to get voters into the voting booth.   It wasn’t until the last few days of the campaign that we knew the democrat’s meme, “Romney will take away women’s rights, he’ll send all women back to the 1950’s” was actually being accepted by the  voters.  No one knew that voters would believe that Romney was going to abolish birth control  and take away all ‘women’s rights’.    Romney didn’t counter that ridiculous notion because no republican thought anyone would believe it.  During this campaign Romney never mentioned birth control or overturning women’s rights (although I remain hazy as to exactly what that means).   So why would anyone believe that he wanted to take away those things?   Even if Romney had wanted to take those things away, which he didn’t, how would he even begin to accomplish that?  And why would he?  It’s absurd.  By the time it dawned on me, and others, that voters were actually buying this ridiculous idea, it was too late to counter it.   Just as democrats have for decades scared the elderly into the voting booth by telling them that republicans wanted to take away their social security and medicare, this time they scared women with the silly lie that Romney would ‘take away all their rights’.  Again, I can’t define that, and neither could the women, and some men, who believed it, but that didn’t stop them from wanting to vote against it.   They weren’t sure what it meant, but they knew they didn’t want it.  We never saw it coming.

Most people who know me know that I never believed that we could beat Obama, the First Black President.  No matter how big his failures with the economy and abroad, race is far too important to Americans to see the First Black President defeated at the polls.  White guilt would never allow that to happen.  Chris Matthews said so!  He and the rest of the MSM were so determined to make the First Black President a success, they would do anything necessary to see him re-elected.  They all said as much.  No matter how bad things became, the First Black President must never look like a failure.  Republicans thought that perhaps America had moved beyond race being SOOOOO important.  We thought that America would be willing to put the good of the country over race.  We were wrong.  Race remains THE MOST important thing for the majority of  voters, gender is a close second.   We never saw it coming.

In the last 2 weeks of the campaign, I began to believe that perhaps we could defeat the First Black President because he really has been an incompetent President.   Our pundits told us that the polls were wrong.  The polls were over sampling democrats so they were all skewed against  Romney and for the First Black President.   Day after day we heard the pollsters were using the same model as 2008, and that turn out could never happen again for Obama.   Except that it did.    We never saw it coming.

Finally, those we trusted, the great republican political experts, told us that not only would Romney win but he could possibly win BIG.  Karl Rove, the architect of political campaigns, in charge of Crossroads PAC, predicted that Romney would win easily.   Then the well respected Michael Barone made his  prediction that Romney would not only win, but win BIG.  He was wrong, right down the line with every swing state.  We never saw it coming.

Being blindsided makes the loss so much worse.  We have no one to blame but ourselves, our media, and our pundits.  We all believed because we so desperately wanted to believe.  None of us wanted to believe that race, lies, and scare tactics would triumph.  None of us wanted to leave our children, and their children, debt that they will be paying off for the rest of their lives.  They will never enjoy the standard of living of their parents and grandparents enjoyed and none us wanted to accept that.  Everyone wants their children to have a better life.  None of us wanted see cuts to our military, our country’s defense, while our taxes are raised.   None of want to see the US become more and more dependent on foreign oil because the EPA (Employment Prevention Agency) won’t allow the Keystone pipeline and won’t allow coal.  We don’t want to see more and more people forced onto unemployment and disability payments because they can’t find jobs because of restrictions and taxes on our businesses.   None of us wanted to see Obamacare fully implemented with the lack of choice that goes with it for the elderly and the rest of us.   We didn’t want to see it force thousands of business to stop offering insurance to their employees because they can’t afford Obamacare.  We couldn’t believe that the American people wanted all these things either, but they did.

We never saw it coming.

 

 

America As “The Giving Tree”

There’s a child’s story called “The Giving Tree.”  The basic plot of it is this:

For those of you who haven’t read THE GIVING TREE since you were kids, here’s the story. When the boy is little, he plays in and around the tree all the time, and they’re very happy together. Then the boy gets older and asks the tree to give him some money, so the tree gives him her apples to sell at the market, and this makes her very happy. Then the boy grows up and wants a house, so the tree lets him cut off her branches to make one, and again, she is happy. Then the boy wants to sail far away, so the tree lets him chop down her trunk and make it into a boat. When the boy finally, finally returns to her, he’s an old man. The tree apologizes that she has nothing left to give him (and politely does not mention that this is because he has TAKEN IT ALL.) The old man says he’s tired and that all he wants is a place to rest, so the she lets him sit on her stump. AND THE TREE IS VERY HAPPY. (The full text is here if you’d like to see the madness for yourself.)

I’m sure the “tree is very happy” to be a shadow of its former self and only good for an old man to plop his ass down on it.  Not.  This young boy grows into a greedy bastard, plain and simple.  He took everything and left nothing for anyone else aside from an old stump.  No future children, his or anyone else’s, would be able to benefit from the tree’s shade or apples or branches to swing upon.  He kept taking and taking until there was nothing else to take, never giving back anything of substance.

America has always been a generous nation, a “Giving Tree” unto itself.

What we saw on Tuesday was a majority of America’s voters turning into the selfish little boy constantly demanding more and more free stuff.  How much longer until America is nothing but a stump?

After a long discussion yesterday morning, my wife and I decided to use the money that we are now spending on items we donate weekly to the local food pantry and on the Untrim-A-Tree Christmas gifts and instead send it to the St. Jude’s Children’s hospital for cancer research. A majority of America has spoken that they want the government to keep giving them free stuff paid for by our tax dollars. We are simply no longer going to supplement that in any way, shape or form and would rather give it to kids who we know are truly in need.

Our taxes are already paying for the 47 million Americans on food stamps, so why should we spend extra money to help stock food pantries?  Our taxes are already paying for people to get so-called “Obamaphones” — some of whom are now getting 4G LTE phones that even my wife and I do not have yet.  At one school in Prince William County last year, teachers pooled money together to buy a bike for a needy student for Christmas through their “Giving Tree” program.  When that student’s parent showed up to pick up the bike, she drove up in a BMW that is more expensive than the cars that either my wife or I drive.  Her child was with her, he hopped out of the car, grabbed the bike and rode home on it.  That was no Christmas gift and there was no expression of appreciation or gratitude from either the child or the parent.  Why should we continue to buy Christmas gifts for children whose parents’ own priorities are so out of whack?

Being a parent is about sacrificing your own desires to help better things for your children.  If that means owning a less expensive car so you can properly feed and clothe your child, then that is what you should do.  If that means you don’t buy something that is a luxury so you can instead provide a necessity, then that is what you need to do.

I would much rather redirect our charitable contributions to helping children suffering from rare forms of cancer than making sure some kid on Christmas morning has a new Disney Princess doll to go with the rest of her collection.  Let’s not forget how poverty is defined in America.

Data from the Department of Energy and other agencies show that the average poor family, as defined by Census officials:

● Lives in a home that is in good repair, not crowded, and equipped with air conditioning, clothes washer and dryer, and cable or satellite TV service.

● Prepares meals in a kitchen with a refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave as well as oven and stove.

● Enjoys two color TVs, a DVD player, VCR and — if children are there — an Xbox, PlayStation, or other video game system.

● Had enough money in the past year to meet essential needs, including adequate food and medical care.

Even 0.6% of people the government says are living in poverty have a jacuzzi while 18% have a big screen TV.

I’m done with it.  Spend my mandated tax money on what you want, but as of right now our discretionary charitable contributions will no longer go to supplement anyone’s “free stuff.”

One could only hope that the Giving Tree topples on this kid.

The reason Romney lost (odds are, you haven’t heard it yet)

The three most prevalent answers for what happened last night are, in order: Romney’s flaws, demographics, and the Democrats’ ground game. All of them certainly had a role (the second of them still fuels my flirtation with rebooting the right with a different party), I think there is one “fundamental” that was more important at the end of the day.

Usually, an incumbent presiding over an economy as bad as what we’ve seen since January of 2009 is sent packing – emphatically. The president’s argument was, essentially, that 2008 was so bad and so out of character in economic terms that the normal rules of judging his record don’t apply.

Now where could the president possibly get this idea?  Well, in 2008, a whole slew of Republicans insisted…things were so out of character in economic terms that they needed send $700 billion to major Wall Street banks. Among the GOPers who violated free market principles out of “necessity” were President Bush the Younger, his cabinet, now-Speaker Boehner, most of his caucus, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, most of his caucus…and both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Now, it helps that I fervently believe the bank bailout (a.k.a. TARP) was a terrible economic mistake (and yes, I said it back in 2008, too). That said, a candidate who opposed TARP could explain why it made a touchy economy much worse, how the deepest part of the Great Recession came during the bailout’s passage and implementation, and that those who backed it (Bush and Obama) made a serious and critical mistake.

That would have separated the candidate from TARP and Bush (the latter still blamed by 53% of the voters for the current stagnation – Fox News). Instead, Obama’s argument about the dangers of 2008 were echoed – however subtlely – by Romney and Ryan themselves.

Simply put, those of us who picked Romney over Santorum or Gingrich (both of whom opposed TARP) made a mistake. Could Obama have beaten either of them? Perhaps, but he certainly wouldn’t have been able to use the “inheritance” argument, because both of them would have insisted the economy did not need the bank bailout; that the president made things worse by his support for the bailout as a 2008 candidate; and that as such, the economic hardships from 2009 on should be placed solely at his feet.

Whatever the Republican party chooses to do in 2016, if they wish to win back the White House, they must nominate an outspoken opponent of TARP – preferably a member of Congress who voted against it.Otherwise, voters will continue to hold the Democrats innocent of their economic record until the next peak in the economic cycle – which could be as late as the mid 20’s.

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal